How to Select a Nursing Program in Lewistown Pennsylvania
Searching for the best nursing college in Lewistown PA may seem like a difficult endeavor, especially if you have no idea what to look for in a good degree program. As you may already understand, to practice as a registered nurse, you need to acquire the proper education and training in order to become licensed. So it is essential that you research and measure the qualifications of each school you are contemplating before enrolling in your ultimate choice. Regrettably, too many future students base their decision entirely on the price of tuition and the proximity of the nursing school. Going with the least expensive program or the one that is closest to your home is probably not the best way to decide on a nursing program. There are various important additional things to check into before you determine where to enroll in classes. But before we delve into that checklist, let’s first cover what the role of a registered nurse is in our medical system, as well as the nursing degree alternatives that are available.
Registered Nurse Job Responsibilities
Registered nurses are the primary occupation in the healthcare delivery system in Lewistown PA. RNs practice in numerous different medical settings, such as hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, nursing homes and even schools. Their general function is to help doctors in the care of their patients. Having said that, the exact duties of a registered nurse will be dependent on their job or area of expertise as well as where they work. Some of the responsibilities of an RN may include:
- Administering medications
- Observing patients
- Performing physical examinations
- Coordinating care
- Managing LPNs, LVNs and nurse aides
- Informing patients and their families
- Keeping health records and charts
Nurses in Lewistown PA with a higher degree may have more advanced job duties and responsibilities. Nurse practitioners (NP), as an example, must hold a Master’s Degree and commonly work more independently than their RN counterparts. They can deliver primary or specialty care services, prescribe medications, and diagnose and treat basic illnesses or injuries.
Nursing Degrees Available
There is more than one degree option to choose from to become a registered nurse. And to become an RN, a student must attend an accredited school and program. A student can obtain a qualifying degree in as little as 2 years, or advance to achieve a graduate degree for a total of 6 years. Following are some brief descriptions of the nursing degrees that are available in Lewistown PA.
- Associates. The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is generally a 2 year program made available by community colleges. It readies graduates for an entry level position in nursing in Lewistown PA healthcare facilities including hospitals, clinics or nursing homes. Many employ the ADN as an entry into nursing and ultimately achieve a higher degree.
- Bachelor’s. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) provides more extensive training than the ADN. It is typically a four year program offered at Lewistown PA colleges and universities. Licensed RNs may be qualified to complete an accelerated program based on their previous training or degree and professional experience (RN to BSN). Those applying to the program may desire to progress to a clinical or administrative position, or be more competitive in the job market.
- Master’s. The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is generally a two year program after obtaining the BSN. The MSN program offers specialization training, for instance to become a nurse practitioner or concentrate on administration, management or teaching.
After a graduating student has earned one of the above degrees, he or she must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) in order to become licensed. Further requirements for licensing can vary from state to state, so don’t forget to get in touch with the Lewistown PA board of nursing for any state requirements.
LPN Certificates and Degrees
There are generally two scholastic accreditations offered that provide instruction to become either an LPN or an LVN. The one that may be finished in the shortest time frame, normally about 1 year, is the certificate or diploma program. The second alternative is to obtain a Practical Nursing Associate Degree. These programs are broader in nature than the diploma alternative and generally require 2 years to complete. The advantage of Associate Degrees, along with offering a higher credential and more extensive instruction, are that they furnish more transferrable credit toward a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing. No matter the kind of credential you seek, it should be Lewistown PA approved and accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or any other national accrediting organization. The NLNAC attests that the core curriculum effectively prepares students to become Practical Nurses, and that most graduates pass the 50 state required NCLEX-PN licensing exam.
Unlike other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to obtain a college degree. CNA training can be acquired at a community college or at either a vocational or trade school. The duration of the training program can take anywhere from 1 to 3 months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Within the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated to obtain at least 75 hours of training, 16 of which must be clinical or “hands-on” training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimum amount of instruction mandated and that every state has its own prerequisites. So it’s essential to make sure that the program you enroll in not only fulfills the federal requirements, but additionally those for the state where you will be practicing. One tip is to check with the health or nursing board for Lewistown PA to make certain that the education is state certified. Along with the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there may be other requirements as well.
Online Nursing Schools
Attending nursing programs online is becoming a more preferred way to obtain instruction and attain a nursing degree. Some schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and almost all programs call for a specific amount of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local Lewistown PA healthcare center. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online, this alternative may be a more convenient approach to finding the time to attend classes for some students. Regarding tuition, many online degree programs are cheaper than other on campus choices. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be minimized, helping to make education more easily affordable. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for BSN and MSN degrees. And so if your work and household responsibilities have left you with little time to pursue your academic goals, maybe an online nursing school will make it more convenient to fit a degree into your busy schedule.
Questions to Ask Nurse Courses
Once you have chosen which nursing program to pursue, along with if to attend your classes on campus or online, you can use the following pointers to begin narrowing down your choices. As you no doubt are aware, there are numerous nursing schools and colleges within Lewistown PA and the United States. So it is essential to reduce the number of schools to select from in order that you will have a manageable list. As we already discussed, the site of the school as well as the cost of tuition are probably going to be the initial two things that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate decision, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection compares to the field.
- Accreditation. It’s a good idea to make sure that the degree or certificate program as well as the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Besides helping make sure that you receive a premium education, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not provided for non-accredited schools in Lewistown PA.
- Licensing Preparation. Licensing prerequisites for registered nurses vary from state to state. In all states, a passing score is needed on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) as well as graduation from an accredited school. Some states require a specific number of clinical hours be performed, as well as the passing of additional tests. It’s important that the school you are attending not only provides an excellent education, but also preps you to comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Pennsylvania or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Visit internet rating companies to see what the evaluations are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Also, get in touch with the Pennsylvania school licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some regional Lewistown PA healthcare organizations you’re interested in working for after graduation and ask what their judgements are of the schools as well.
- Graduation and Job Placement Rates. Find out from the RN colleges you are looking at what their graduation rates are as well as how long on average it takes students to finish their programs. A low graduation rate may be an indication that students were displeased with the program and dropped out. It’s also important that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a good reputation within the Lewistown PA healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students attain employment.
- Internship Programs. The best way to obtain experience as a registered nurse is to work in a Lewistown PA clinical environment. Essentially all Pennsylvania nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for licensing too. Check if the schools have associations with community hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships.
Enroll in the Right RN College in Lewistown PA
Selecting the right registered nursing program is perhaps the most critical first step to starting a new career in the health care industry. There are numerous variables that you should consider when selecting a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career objectives, lifestyle, and economic situation. As we have highlighted within this content, it is important that you select an RN school and a degree program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the healthcare community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a short list of schools to select from so that you can make your final selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your dedication and desire to succeed, you can become a practicing RN in Lewistown PA.
Why Did You Want to Be an RN?When getting ready to interview for a nursing position, it's a good idea to consider questions you could be asked. One of the questions that interviewers often ask nursing candidates is "What compelled you to choose nursing as a career?". What the interviewer is hoping to discover is not only the private reasons you might have for being a registered nurse, but also what qualities and talents you possess that make you exceptional at your profession. You will undoubtedly be asked questions relating exclusively to nursing, in addition to a certain number of standard interview questions, so you should prepare several strategies about how you want to respond to them. Given that there are several factors that go into choosing a career, you can address this primary question in a variety of ways. When readying an answer, attempt to include the reasons the work appeals to you along with the talents you have that make you an outstanding nurse and the leading choice for the job. Don't attempt to memorize a response, but write down some concepts and topics that pertain to your own experiences and strengths. Reading through sample answers can assist you to formulate your own concepts, and provide ideas of what to discuss to enthuse the recruiter.
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